Volunteering for Ten Thousand Villages is a family affair for Anita Lunden. Not only did her mother volunteer in sales years ago, but so did her daughter back when she was at university. When Anita moved to Edmonton, she grabbed the chance to volunteer four or eight hours a week too.
Giving her dedication and time just makes sense for the business and technology consultant who eventually joined the board of the Ten Thousand Villages store in Edmonton.
“I really believe in the principles behind fair trade and the kind of impact it’s having,” she says. “It has the potential to make a long-term difference in getting people on their feet and independent.”
Anita is only one of the approximately 3,000 Canadians who volunteer their time, expertise and energy to Ten Thousand Villages, the largest and oldest Fair Trade organization in North America. While known for its fair wages, it has also helped create safe working conditions for artisans and producers who feel the respect and dignity that come from earning fair value for their work.
Now all volunteers across Canada are getting their annual shout-out during National Volunteer Week, which takes place April 12-18 this year – a time to recognize, celebrate and thank volunteers.
“We depend on our volunteers. We do what we do so well because so many Canadians pitch in and help out,” says Ryan Jacobs, chief executive officer for Ten Thousand Villages. “We’re grateful each and every day, but National Volunteer Week is a time to reflect on how much they contribute to our success.”
Making time to volunteer is not as onerous as it might sound. Many people work only one four-hour shift a week. Others, like Herb and Shirley Schultz, who started back in 2003 after retiring, work hours in the New Hamburg, Ontario stockroom, depending on their availability.
No matter how much time they offer, however, Shirley knows exactly what keeps the couple coming back each week.